Labour late-night meeting strikes decision on second Brexit referendum stance

Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn listens to speeches at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Britain, 23 September 2018. [EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER]

The UK’s opposition Labour party have said they will adopt a stance on their support for a second Brexit referendum by conducting a vote among members, after a late-night meeting on Sunday evening (23 September).

The decision comes amid the party’s annual conference currently taking place in Liverpool, with Brexit dominating the agenda. Members at the conference will vote on a motion set before them on Tuesday (25 September).

Labour’s potential backing for a second Brexit referendum will be conditional on whether Theresa May fails to receive the support she needs for her Chequers proposal in parliament.

May blames EU for Brexit 'impasse' as 'no deal' prospects soar

Theresa May pinned the blame firmly on the EU on Friday (21 September) for the ‘impasse’ in the Brexit negotiations, as the prospects of the UK crashing out of the bloc without a deal dramatically increased.

Referring to the meeting, a Labour source told the BBC:

“There was consensus in the room opposing the Tories’ chaotic approach to the Brexit negotiations…and that a general election should be called as soon as any deal is voted down by parliament.”

“It was then agreed that if we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said over the weekend that he would shift his weight behind a decision to stage another Brexit referendum, should his party demonstrate clear support for the move.

However, he made clear that if any vote of significance was to take place before the British people, he would prefer a general election over a second Brexit referendum.

EU leaders ‘nice’ to May but no sign of Brexit deal

Prime Minister Theresa May appealed directly to fellow European Union leaders on Wednesday (19 September) to drop “unacceptable” Brexit demands that she said could rip Britain apart, urging the bloc to respond in kind to her “serious and workable” plan.

Speaking on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr show, Corbyn said:

“The prime minister should report to parliament on what has happened…and then we should then measure her proposals for the relationship with the EU against the six tests that the Labour party has put down.”

The ‘six tests‘ comprise a series of metrics put forward by Labour’s Brexit shadow minister, Sir Keir Starmer, that provide the party with a framework by which to judge their support for Theresa May’s plans. They include following considerations:

  1. Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?
  2. Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?
  3. Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities?
  4. Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?
  5. Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime?
  6. Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?

Should Labour judge May’s plans to have negative consequence in response to the above questions, then the party is likely to vote down her Chequers plan in the commons.

Malta PM claims EU leaders 'almost unanimous' for second Brexit vote

Malta’s prime minister on Thursday (20 September) signalled unexpected support from EU leaders for a second referendum on Brexit in Britain, boosting a growing campaign for a new poll despite the British government’s trenchant opposition.

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